The College Board announced on April 24 that it will make changes in the controversial new offering in African American studies.
The current “framework” released for a full pilot in the next year has been widely criticized by scholars in the field for giving short shrift to many topics in the modern period. Conservatives, led by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, have accused the College Board of producing material that adds little of value.
The College Board’s statement last week said, “We are committed to providing an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture. To achieve that commitment, we must listen to the diversity of voices within the field. The development committee and experts within AP remain engaged in building a course and exam that best reflect this dynamic discipline. Those scholars and experts have decided they will make changes to the latest course framework during this pilot phase. They will determine the details of those changes over the next few months.”
The statement added, “In embarking on this effort, access was our driving principle—both access to a discipline that has not been widely available to high school students, and access for as many of those students as possible. Regrettably, along the way those dual access goals have come into conflict. The updated framework, shaped by the development committee and subject matter experts from AP, will ensure that those students who do take this course will get the most holistic possible introduction to African American studies.”
People for the American Way president Svante Myrick released the following statement: “We appreciate the College Board’s willingness to recognize its mistakes and are counting on the College Board to correct those mistakes by fully restoring the elements of its AP African American Studies course watered down because they were deemed too controversial. Political attempts to take away the freedom to learn create barriers that prevent our nation achieving its vision of justice for all.”